An investor day can be one of the most prominent events a company hosts, and it’s an impactful way to share news with the investment community, but it takes a lot of effort and preparation to host one effectively. Also known as “analyst day”, investor day represents your first impression with the investment community, including investors, fund managers, banks, and analysts.
We spoke to Todd Skene, Director of Capital Markets at irlabs, a dynamic investor relations firm specializing in storytelling and investor engagement, to understand the best practices for hosting an investor day.
While hosting an investor day can certainly be something to look forward to, it’s important to note that they are not mandatory events, and not every company needs to host one every year. While some companies, particularly large and mega-cap companies, might host an investor day annually, for most businesses, it only makes sense to do so if the audience stands to benefit beyond what they can gain from reading your company website and other already published material. Furthermore, your investor day should have a purpose or goal that moves your business forward and cover topics not included in the statutory filings.
Some examples of goals for your investor day include:
In order to gauge the impact of your investor day, you may want to gauge where you are now as a benchmark for success. A good practice is to use equity research and estimates to determine how your business is currently viewed and key areas of focus for your investor day.
Once you commit to hosting an investor day, you must deliver a good impression for your attendees. Select a target date and time that doesn’t conflict with earnings, proxy season, or other industry events, and start to plan your desired event format, venue, and technological logistics.
Companies can host an investor day in-person, online, or as a hybrid event with in-person and online components. Each format has its pros and cons; however, for 2022, hybrid events are expected to be the most common.
For all event formats, you need to consider:
In-person events allow you to build relationships face-to-face and allow for a better networking experience, but require significant time and resources to run effectively and can be inaccessible to investors who cannot travel to attend.
For in-person investor days, you need to consider:
Digital investor day events usually require fewer resources and can attract a broader audience of attendees, but it can be more challenging to build relationships with individual attendees.
For digital investor days, you need to consider:
For digital investor events, you may want to trim down the length of your presentations. While in-person investor days can easily occupy several hours, with online events, attention spans are shorter as attendees are contending with more distractions. Consider condensing your digital presentations to half of what you’d prepare for in person events. You may wish to incorporate more multimedia or interactive elements in a digital presentation to help engage attendees.
Hybrid events combine the benefits of in-person and online events with a good balance of relationship building and global attendance, but they are also the most challenging to pull off logistically due to the demands of hosting both in-person and online audiences.
Once you know what your investor day needs to accomplish and how many attendees you can accommodate, you can narrow down your invite list to ensure you’ll have the right people in attendance. Investor day is an excellent opportunity to network with your current investors and build relationships with prospective investors and analysts. Investor day is a prime opportunity to improve upon and build new relationships on the Street.
Irwin’s product suite can help you put together your guest list by connecting you to investors across the globe that may be interested in your company. Irwin gives you unparalleled access to a global network of investors, allowing you to form relationships across the broader investment community. Additionally Irwin’s FactSet partnership provides data that can allow you to identify potential analysts that you may wish to invite.
Investor days are an opportunity to go deeper than the CEO and CFO by showcasing other members of leadership. This is often the only time investors may have access to management. Depending on the organization, business heads from Operations, Manufacturing, Product Development, Sales & Marketing, or Business Development may lead sessions, Q&A, or take part in post-event follow up. Furthermore, you have an opportunity to showcase your innovations in areas like ESG, technology and processes, product development, etc.
Skene recommends preparing speakers ahead of time with messaging that focuses on business advantages rather than technical victories.
“Avoid getting too technical, the messaging should be focused on the business value proposition and any technical competitive advantage should be described in business terms.”
Remember, your speakers can never be overprepared for investor day. IROs should work with management ahead of time to ensure that their script is aligned with the goals of the investor day, and is delivered with confidence and excitement. Executive coaching can also help elevate your management team as speakers and prepare them for any difficult questions they encounter during Q&A sessions.
Investor day is a prime opportunity to share your key strategic messages, and storytelling is no small part of that. The way you frame your company’s origins, accomplishments, and purpose is equally as important as the content of the message itself.
Skene weighs in on the importance of storytelling:
“It takes creativity beyond the usual powerpoint presentation to impress your audience. We’ve seen businesses successfully tell their story at investor day through videos, virtual tours, and even a management team panel for Q&A.“
Use investor day as an opportunity to control the narrative of your investor brand. While your existing investors may already know your story, you want to make sure to reiterate all the key beats for the investment community at large. Recap your company’s purpose, journey, and achievements to date before diving into matters at hand.
The content of your investor day will depend on your underlying goals. It might be helpful to consider what you want analyst reports to say after your event and work backwards from there to determine what your key messages are. Your investor day content could include:
One of the best ways to make a strong impression on investor day is to ensure that you have something new and noteworthy to share. Examples of newsworthy developments include but are not limited to product launches, introducing new management, and new growth or acquisition strategies. Skene recommends timing your investor day to coincide with a newsworthy press release. Discussing an exciting press release at investor day is an excellent way to impress the investment community and build buzz around your new initiatives.
Investor day is a fantastic opportunity to report on previously discussed short and long-term goals. Discuss each goal in the context of where you started, where you are now, and where you want to be. This allows you to contextualize your business’s growth on its roadmap while leaving room to highlight how strategy and performance have driven your company forward. If possible, provide a multi-year outlook for your roadmap.
It is important to acknowledge your peers while differentiating your business as a champion. Investors and analysts want to know if you’ve acquired new key accounts, won exclusive contracts, or otherwise achieved a strategic leg up on your peers.
Investor day is an ideal time to touch on your business’ financial outlook, and to address how your brand is perceived by the Street. If you’ve received any interesting press or conducted an investor perception study, investor day is a good opportunity to leverage that information and use that to strengthen your narrative. Similarly, if you’re aware of any concerns from the investor community, you have the opportunity to address them as part of your business narrative.
Without interactive elements, investor day is just another meeting that could have been an email. With digital or hybrid formats, you want to ensure that you can maintain your audience’s attention. An easy way to ensure your event is interactive is to include a question and answer session, but there are other ways you can go above and beyond to make investor day engaging. Here are a few methods Skene recommends for making investor day more interactive:
There are many ways to make video an engaging part of your investor day, and they’re so versatile they can even be used on your IR website or in your email campaigns. Videos are a great way to showcase your facilities, products, and your customers. The best part about videos is that they are easy to present in-person and digitally, and can be shared with invitees unable to attend.
When your audience isn’t engaged in your presentation, they’re likely to tune out. Polls with predefined parameters are a great way to stimulate your audience and gauge what they already know about your business. Using a poll at the beginning of your investor day presentation is a good way to keep attendees hooked on your presentation early on. Tools like sli.do make it easy to administer polls that hybrid audiences can interact with using their smartphone or web browser.
Investor days are a fantastic opportunity for Q&A between investors and company management that they may not always get at other times. Make sure you allow sufficient time for questions and answers; ideally 30-40% of a presentation or speech should be allotted for questions. For virtual and hybrid events, most presentation software allows attendees to submit questions during your presentation, so it’s important to have a moderator who can help the speaker by refining and prioritizing questions submitted digitally.
As a general best practice, it is helpful to have several shorter Q&A sessions that are tied to specific speakers or presentations rather than one long question period. This ensures that questions are timely and relevant, but also prevents speakers and attendees from feeling overwhelmed.
After hosting investor day, don’t forget to follow up with all your attendees. If your event was hybrid or digital, you can use this opportunity to send attendees recordings of your sessions. This is also a good opportunity to set up calls with your attendees to get feedback on your roadmap and evaluate if you achieved the goals you set for your investor day. Logging these feedback sessions in your IR CRM can help you keep track of investors who should be part of your future investor outreach or engagement plans.
Additionally, this stage is a good time to evaluate the effectiveness of your investor day by comparing it to your initial goals. Irwin can help you demonstrate the effect of your investor day through buying/selling activity, comments from attendees, and changes in market sentiment.
The following questions can guide you towards assessing the impact of your event:
While hosting an investor day requires significant internal investment, it’s an impactful way to get your company story out to the investment community. These seven tips will help you stay organized and outcome oriented when planning your next investor day. For more assistance on running your next investor day, irlabs specializes in designing and executing impactful investor relations programs customized to tell your story, create visibility, and drive investor engagement.